rapport

Should you tell the customer? The Company’s Dilemma - 4/23/19


I have a lot of clients that struggle with this question, both at a company/strategic level as well as an individual representative level. When there is an issue that is going to happen, should you tell the customer? This week we’re going to address the question at the Read more

Customer for Life – The Final Step - 4/16/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Third Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Address what will keep them. Now, we’re sharing the Fourth and Final Step. To have a Customer for Life, you have to grow your relationship with them. While the 3rd step is the Read more

Use the Actions of Empathy - 4/9/19


I firmly believe that the most important personal trait of someone in customer service is empathy. If empathy is understanding the other person, then it’s very difficult to truly serve someone that you don’t understand. Particularly when they’re upset or irate, being empathetic and getting them to Read more

Customer for Life – The Third Step - 4/2/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Second Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Never let a relationship go stale – keep the communication going. Now, we’re sharing the Third Step. To have a customer for life, you have to address what will keep them. Read more

Facial Recognition is the Future of Customer Service - 3/26/19


According to a recent New York Times article, facial recognition is the future of retail customer service. A trend in technology for retail businesses is to utilize facial recognition technology in order to better know who is entering your business. The idea is that if somebody within Read more

Customer for Life – The Second Step - 3/19/19


Two weeks ago, we shared a Customer Service Tip on how to get (and keep!) a Customer for Life. We addressed the First Step, Knowing what you need to know about the other person. Now, we’re sharing the Second Step. To develop a relationship with anyone, there has to Read more

Employee Runs for a Dog Run - 3/12/19


I was never a Boy Scout. I mean in the literal sense, but also somewhat in the figurative sense, but I digress. After years of telling myself that I needed something to help my dog get exercise outside without worrying about him trying to dig under a fence and Read more

Customer for Life – The First Step - 3/5/19


This should be the goal, right? That our clients today will be our clients tomorrow and well into the future. That their loyalty grows, their business with us grows, their referrals grow, and it is all part of a relationship that grows and develops over time. But what’s the Read more

Retrain Your Brain - 2/26/19


Admit it. You thought about it. You thought: Why in the world did the customer try to assemble that before reading the instructions? Why would they drive all the way down here instead of just checking the website? Why would they go through the drive-thru when they can deposit using Read more

Look Up, or Look Out! - 2/19/19


The clerk called out “next in line!”, and Frannie went to the counter. “Can I have your name?,” the employee asked, but she stared at her computer screen while asking. Frannie stated her name, the time of her appointment, and noted the reason for the appointment. Staring at the screen, Read more

Rapport in 90 Seconds – 1/17/17

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment


Sometimes we’re meeting the customer for the first time. It’s going to be a brief conversation, but we still want them to end the conversation feeling valued, comfortable, and confident – we want them to have a great experience.

Maybe there’s not enough time to establish a relationship, especially if you only have 90 seconds with the customer. So how can you at least establish a healthy rapport?

First, initiate and greet. Go to them, if possible, to initiate the conversation. Let them know you’re available and happy to help. Greet with some energy (not overbearing, but definitely not flat). Focus on them, and be friendly/courteous.

Second, make it all about them. Ask about their interest, their issue, need, or goal. Asking puts the focus on what’s important to them, making them feel important and valued. Restate your understanding to convey their situation is understood, and make it conversational – flowing dialogue is often key to rapport-building.

Third, share a little about you. It’s all about them, so what they need to know about you is that which makes them feel valued, comfortable, and confident. Valued – how what you do addresses their need. Comfortable – use your name to personalize. Confident – convey that you’ve helped others in similar situations.

Finally, let non-verbal factors communicate for you. Ensure that your body language and tone of voice back up what you’re trying to accomplish with your words. Engage with the body language, expressions, and tone in a manner that conveys you’re focused on them, empathetic, positive, and service-oriented.

Regardless of how much time you have with the customer, communicate in such a way as to engender positive feelings about you and your organization.

Establish rapport in 90 seconds.

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Build Rapport to Build Your Business – 12/6/16

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Story 1: The worried spouse called the gambler’s hotline because she was afraid her husband had a gambling problem. He had been spending lots of money on it, staying out later and later. When the hotline representative answered the call, the representative was calm and empathetic about the situation. She asked appropriate questions and gave the wife time to explain her situation. The caller was comfortable with the advice being offered and ended the call with some clear next steps, resources available, and someone she could trust to call again. She eventually utilized their resources.

Story 2: The nurse at the primary care clinic met Fred – a new patient that had switched clinics because of insurance purposes. The nurse wasn’t rude, but she didn’t smile, didn’t introduce herself, and never used the patient’s name after calling Fred in from the waiting room. She spent the entire time in the exam looking at her computer. When the doctor entered the room to meet Fred for the first time, there wasn’t necessarily tension, but there was a reserved, guarded, impersonal feel to the conversation. Fred considered finding another doctor.

Story 3: Marie needed to buy a new car, and she knew that her credit union had an auto buying service. The people at the credit union had always been friendly and she trusted them, so she decided to give it a shot. After a call and several e-mails, she noticed that no matter to whom she spoke, they were always responsive and consistently pleasant – almost happy! They gave her many details, explained processes, provided links to specific sites on the web, and were patient with Marie’s questions. She bought the car through their service.

These are three stories that had some success (Stories 1 and 3) and a probable fail (Story 2). These are all stories about the need to establish rapport. Maybe the quality of the services in Story 1, the physician’s skills in Story 2, or the auto purchase terms in Story 3 were no better or worse than the alternatives that could be considered, but the decisions to move forward with those businesses were made largely on the rapport that the employees established.

Rapport can lead to credibility, comfort, confidence, and – in the end – a decision to do business with an organization (or not).

Build rapport to build your business.

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Meet Them Where They’re At – 3/15/16 TOW

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I was watching an old episode of the television show “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and Ray was chastised by his mother because he said “That’s where I got to be where I’m at.” She was horrified that he – a professional writer – ended a sentence with a prepositional phrase (or as Ray put it, a “propositional phrase”).

Well I’m making the same grammatical error in this Tip of the Week – Meet Them Where They’re At.

It’s hard to quickly create a relationship with someone, but people in customer service need to know how to quickly establish rapport. A rapport is established where there is a sense that people care about each other’s feelings and thoughts.

To create a rapport with a customer, one key is meeting them where they’re at – If they’re standing, you stand. If they’re looking concerned, you look concerned. If they’re standing in another part of the room pointing at something as they talk to you, go to them. If they’re jovial, loosen up. If they’re speaking softly, don’t be too boisterous. If they start with closed arms, you may start that way too – briefly – before unfolding your arms. If they’re sitting, then sit as well.

Much of this could also be considered mirroring, and it’s important because meeting them in this way breaks down some of the physical barriers to rapport (i.e., body language and tone).

Be careful in situations where they’re highly irate and looking angry – you don’t want to mirror those attributes.

But when establishing rapport and trying to engender some trust, openness, and goodwill, adopt this principle.

Meet them where they’re at.

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